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coming out to wife of 23 yrs.

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by headshaver, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. headshaver

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    I posted this in the welcome forum. Seems like this is the better forum.
    First - thank you for having this amazing forum. I joined 7 days ago and have spent hours each day reading the post of other married gay men who came out or are about to come out. Each story is a reply of my life. The stories along with guidance of a few gay friends has given me the courage to finally tell the truth to my wife and kids (15 and 19). Married 23 years. 48 years young .

    I plan on coming out in the weeks ahead. When, don't know - I have some things to get in order since I am pretty certain I will be kicked out immediately when I come clean. My gay friend who was married is helping me put a plan in place and helping me think of things that need to be in place before I spill the beans.

    My story is like many here - first and foremost, I’m so very sorry I’ve lead my wife down this path – I tried to fight this battle but I can’t win. At the end of the day, she deserves to know the truth and she deserves better. I hope with all my heart and soul that one day she will understand and she will forgive me for the lies, and the pain that I have caused her and the girls. I’ll go to my grave knowing I hurt her and that I let her down but that is my burden to carry. She loved me, she gave me love, she gave me memories, she gave me a family, she and the girls are my purpose in life – I will not abandon them and will never let them suffer. I hope she understands that promise through all of this journey.

    This decision didn’t happen overnight – As I started to think about telling her this, I am overcome with 1000 different reasons to just keep quiet. I was and I still am very scared. I am scared for her, and the girls too. I worry what this will do to them. She knows something is wrong over the last few months – she asked me what was going on – why was I so sad looking – so quiet. I blamed it on work but in reality, I was having this conversation in my own mind and dealing with the emotions of what the results would be by me coming out to her and the girls. I fear severely impacting the people I love.
    This is #1 on my list- her and the girls. I do not want her and the girls to suffer because of my issue and me coming to terms with who I am. She deserves more. She deserves to know that the lies are over. The girls deserve a Dad who does the right thing and one that does not abandon them and honors the obligation to launch them out into the world as best equipped as possible. I fear giving up love and companionship.

    Do I love her? YES. Is she my best friend? Yes indeed. Am I giving her 100% of my love, affection and emotion to our relationship? NO. I suppose in life you never get 100% of what you want. So, filling one unfulfilled box (coming to terms with who I am) and perhaps draining two other boxes (love and companionship) may not be a good trade off – but I am prepared to deal with the outcome. I cannot continue to live this lie.
    I fear giving up love and companionship (repeat...)I’ve got great love and companionship, I may never find this again.

    Other facts I want to make sure you understand: I love my wife and I’m going to tell this because I love her. I realize that whatever I do will hurt her to some extent and I don’t want to hurt her. However I must be true to myself. I cannot continue to lie or live a lie for me. I am dammed if I tell her and dammed if I don’t tell her - I want to be open and honest. I can no longer lie about my habits, my past experiences, my fears, hiding and wondering if she really knows. She deserves better! I do not want to put her health at risk – that is not fair.

    I did not go into our marriage straight and then turn gay - this issue has been in my life since I was a teen – I just put it out of my mind and then allowed it to develop over the last 15 years. Whatever happens in the end I want us always to be friends – the girls deserve that from us. We’ll have to find a way to put our personal feelings and emotions to the side and never let this cause them pain, suffering or guilt. I will do what is right at the right time that we agree on if that means moving out, separation, divorce - I want the decision and timing to be mutual. And I want the girls to know that this has nothing to do with them. And, it is not because we don’t love each other. It is because I am gay and I am doing the right thing by being honest – and I hope that she will see that and respect me in the end.

    Nothing she has done or not done makes her responsible for what has happened and the decision for me to come out. This is all on me and I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. Nothing she or anyone else can do in the future can change the way I am or who I am. I’ve been trying to change it for 30 years – and yet, here I am admitting that I am gay. This has nothing to do with the girls. I love them with all my heart. This situation – the other life – the lies - is the fault of how I was raised and society and the pressures it places on gay people which caused me to consciously and subconsciously suppress who I am.

    I have been attracted to guys since I was a teen. I suppressed my thoughts due to fear of my dad along with how I saw my parents handled my sister being gay. I knew when I graduated from high school that something wasn’t right – I remember the chance to be with a girl on my high school graduation trip – I didn’t do anything, I talked to her for 2 hours. All my buddies got laid that night – I had a nice conversation on the beach. When I was in high school I went out on three dates – the prom and a few other dances. I was always uncomfortable especially when it came to kissing my date goodnight – I just wasn’t interested.
    I had my first experience with another guy in college two years before I met you. It was not planned, it was after a long night of partying. He made a move on me and it just happened. I freaked out and decided I couldn’t be this way. I went into the closet that night.
    I met my wife 2 years later. I stayed away from any gay activity (meeting other men, surfing internet chat rooms, watching porn) for 7 years. I started watching porn again just before my first daughter was born – I stopped by a porn store near my office downtown and watched porn. This opened up all the suppressed feelings of my attraction to men again. I watched gay porn out of curiosity and became turned on much more than straight porn. I tried to get help. I used parental locks on the Internet to stop it but could not resist. I always found a way to get around the barriers. Feelings of shame, revulsion, guilt, denial, and confusion led me to seek counseling from a pastor at a local church and a small men’s group focused on poon addiction.

    I stayed clean for 2 years. I met another guy at the group and became friends with him. Our support partner relationship lead to a sexual relationship and we saw each other for 2 years until he moved to another state. This was around the time that her dad and my dad passed away. I was using their death as a mask for my depression over breaking up with this other guy. When she asked me if I was having an affair 6 years ago, I lied to because I wanted to save our marriage and our family and I didn’t want to admit I was gay.

    I stayed clean for about a year and began watching gay porn again while traveling on business. I began randomly hooking up with other men. I’ve done this for the last 6 years. Out of fear that I put her health at risk, I had testing for STD’s in October of 2014. I am clean, there is no risk to her. I lied to about the true reason for getting tested. I do not do anything unsafe – she is not at risk.


    While not coming out in the past few years during this confusion I would not have denied it if she asked if am I was gay. In fact, I think she may have known but told herself it wasn’t true. My answer would have been yes, I am gay. All of the intimacy / sexual issues we have had over the years were driven by my issue with being gay.

    I entered our marriage thinking I had moved past my issues. For the first time in my life, she made me feel loved and I loved her too. I honestly felt that I had managed to put the gay side of my life away. I won the battle, proved to myself that I wasn’t gay and that I was normal. She saved me – she gave me a reason to fight the battle. When we married, I had no concerns about who I was, what I wanted, who we were, that I loved her, nothing --- I married her with a clean conscious and in a frame of mind that I was normal. In fact, I was proud of myself for winning the battle – I just didn’t tell anyone why I was proud. I kept it in my closet for no one to ever know.

    I was born this way and I have suppressed this issue to the point that I can no longer deny who I am. I know without a doubt that this isn’t a bad habit. I know it is something I can’t just put in a box and it will go away. I know that I am a gay man- period. I am gay. I am not attracted to other women or fantasize about sex with them. I am attracted to other men. I don’t even look at girls generally. I used to look at straight porn but now exclusively look at gay porn. I cannot stand feminine men, its masculine straight acting guys I am drawn to. I am not, nor will I ever be a flaming gay guy. That’s just not who I am.

    Shame, Confusion, Depression, Guilt, FEAR. Feeling bad and not wanting to hurt her, I am dammed if I tell her and dammed if I don’t tell. Over last 18 years I have been through all of the commonly recognized feelings
    • Denial: I am not different. I am not gay. No one needs to know, this is private. Keep playing the hiding game.
    • Anger: This is not fair. This should not be happening to me. It messes up everything in our life. People will not like me anymore. The girls are going to hate me and I am going to be an embarrassment to their friends. Why me? I did not ask for this. I don’t want it. I won’t do it. This isn’t fair to her and the girls.
    • Bargaining: Just keep it quiet – no one needs to know.
    • Depression: I don’t see a way to be happy. I can’t come out. I can’t stand this lie anymore. It is killing me. There is no happy ending for anyone.
    • Acceptance: It won’t be easy, but I will do what I have to do. People who love me will love me no matter what.

    Realistically there would seem to be only a few options now - Separation / Divorce… but the impact is huge: Most important – the girls. I know this will kill them. I am who I am but I know their world will be turned upside down. We have invested a lot in our marriage/house/shared memories to just walk away. Complication of selling the house. I will have to move into an apartment and I do not want this to cause her and the girls lifestyle to change. I am not trying to walk away from any responsibility – I want to continue being part of the life events for our girls – help with pick up at volleyball, help move my daughter in college into her apartment, go to volleyball games, etc.

    So that's my story. That's all I can purge at this moment. More to come in the days and weeks. One moment I feel good - the next moment I feel like a big fake. I am not going into this thinking I am gonna tell her and I am free - my gay buddy told me - it will feel great day one then reality will set in... and it's gonna be tough but in the end it is worth it to stop living a lie.

    I live in north Houston, Texas in a bubble community called The Woodlands if there are any other men out there who want connect I could use some guidance.

    Peace!
     
  2. Masnar

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    I'm there for you man. I'll be 48 this year, my wife and I separated last November for good. I have two grade school bots.

    I'm not out, and my sexuality really did not end the marriage; but I have had much of the same struggles during it. For me, it would have been easier if I had been 'blatantly' gay. But I always loved women and wanted to be with them.

    Please PM me, and I'll give you my email you if you need support.
     
  3. nohalos

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    Hello. This was such a beautiful read, kind sir. I could not give you anything right now, but my best wishes to everything that you do from now on.
     
  4. FloridaGuy

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    Hey Headshaver, your story sounds like mine, I was married for 23 years - divorced 5 now. My sexuality wasn't the reason for the divorce however I know it caused issues over the years. She never knew and I am just now starting to come out. My kids are in their early twenties....they lived with me during the separation and ever since the divorce. She was not really interested in parenting and I always felt like a single parent even when married, so my situation was a bit different in that respect. I don't miss her at all. I recently have an empty nest so, after doing lots of research, I have started to come out.... only 4 friends so far. Maybe my kids next week. All friends have been very supportive - they said it makes no difference to them. A big relief. I was also struggling to suppress my true feelings for too long and could not live that way any more. I am now confident with my decision. Hope everything works out for you. Too bad you're not closer, would be good to hang out with a group of guys like us. Lots in common.
     
  5. guitar

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    That was a very beautiful read. I wish I could offer some experience to add to what you've just written. I thought I was straight until my early 20s when I too realized I couldn't live with the lie and repression any longer. It's hardly being married with 2 kids, but I fully applaud you for looking to take the next step and letting your family know who you really are. I'm still in the process of coming out, and I can tell you it's no easy feat letting people know you're not who they think you are, and you're what not what you've told them you were.

    You might want to check out Gareth Thomas' book Pride. He was the first out Rugby player in the UK, and was married until his early 30s. The way he describes his trouble with accepting his sexuality and breaking it to his wife, I think will probably hit very close to home and offer some insights into what you may be feeling during this process.

    Best of luck. Keep us informed of what happens. You can always look to this forum for support, guidance and a hug :slight_smile:
     
  6. Richie.

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    Such a complicated situation isn't it? My eyes were closed I initially worried about hurting others, but guess what? The person you're hurting the most is.... YOU.

    We are guilt sticken with the fact we are gay or bi or whatever else and we hold ourselves responsible for all the bad.

    The moment we realise we are worthy of true love, being our true selves is the moment we lose the heavy weight on our shoulders.

    Will you lose you wife? Maybe, my experience is you've got to look after yourself and let her come to terms with it. That's not your cross to bear. What will be will be, que sera sera.

    It won't be as bad as you imagine, it will be hard but we get through, one day at a time.

    Be true

    Peace
     
  7. headshaver

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    Thank you all very much for your kind words of support. Masnar - I can't PM you as I get a message that PM's can only be sent to certain higher level members not us regular folks :frowning2: Would be happy to PM you and give you my email but it seems there is a barrier to that option.
    Today I woke up at 430 am - yuk - thinking about this - playing this out in my mind and I can't begin to tell you all how many paths my mind took me down to figuring out this journey. I'm a planner - so my brain kicks into plan mode.
    This week I have to go check out some apartments and understand deposits, how quickly I can move in, utility deposits, etc., etc. My gay bud told me I won't be able to leave one day and be in my apartment the next --- so I need to figure that all out and also find out the cost of hotel or see if I can stay with one of my friends a few days until I can get a place. I know she is going to tell me to leave immediately. I also need to contact our an attorney - I need to understand cost for legal services, timing, and child support in Texas for my 15 yr old still at home.
    These are two big task this week in addition to my normal job, three client meetings and a business trip. Oh well - busy is always better!
    My plan, unless something changes, is to tell her after mothers day there are a few events over the next few weeks that I don't want to ruin for her and I don't want to ruin mothers day - she fly to move my daughter home from college the day after mothers day - so perhaps when she returns around the 15th of May. That's my plan - we'll see how it works out. I have decided though, if she ask me again what is bothering me, I'm just going to spill the beans.
     
  8. bi2me

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    Welcome to EC. Thank you for sharing your story. You will be able to write on walls after you post 10 times in the forums.

    Good luck, and keep us posted. :slight_smile:
     
  9. Yossarian

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    headshaver, just for your information, she can't throw you out of the house you live in. She can leave herself, or throw a hissy fit, but you can stay there as long as you need to, so don't throw money away on a hotel room if you have to wait to move into a not-yet-vacant apartment; even if you decide that is what you eventually want to do. You haven't done anything "wrong" by telling her you are gay; actually, you have done something right, for both of you.
     
  10. headshaver

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    Yossarian - thank you for the advice. You're right -she can't throw me out on the streets - after all, everything we own is in my name since she has been a stay at home mom for 15 years.
    I spoke to my attorney yesterday. I wanted to get a perspective on what I was looking at down the road as far as legal fees, timing, child support, etc. We had a brief conversation on the phone - a free conversation - and he gave me some homework. He asked me to gather and compile a list of all our assets, bank accounts, savings, investments. Then he wants to meet with me to review and discuss how this plays out legally. Good homework exercise as I have allowed wife to be the manager of all of this over the last 20 years. I make the money - she manages the finances. One less thing for me to deal with but now I realize I have no clue and this will be somewhat of a task. Oh well, need to know this anyway. Next meeting with attorney is $380 for an hour conversation - got to find a way to meet without paying immediately as she will see the bill come thru on the bank statement which she monitors daily. Perhaps I meet him after I tell her then it doesn't matter. I really wish he would have given me a little more ... FYI - you need to know this and that and this is how child support works in Texas, etc.
    Are there any attorneys here who know anything about Texas divorce process and child support? Or has anyone been thru this in Texas? I asked my gay friend who was married and came out about his divorce - his situation is nothing like mine will be - his wife was a trust fund baby - and he lived off the trust fund basically - so he ended up on the positive when they divorced . He used her attorney and they split the cost - child support wasn't an issue as their son was 18 already and his son's portion of the trust fund kicked in at 19. So he got out of child support. U nfortunately, I'm not married to a trust fund baby :frowning2:
    Anyway - today I am going to go check out a few apartments.
     
  11. arturoenrico

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    Your sexuality itself is not something that will be harmful to your girls, let alone kill them. How others react to it will be important to their adjustment. In particular, how you present it to them is important to their well being. You are the same person to them you always were. Nobody can stop you from being the parent you want to be or should be for them. You can be ever-present as always. My situation was similar to yours, in that I was married 23 years at the time I told my wife, and that I had two kids. It is also true that I've always known about my gay self, but kept him hidden away but he still causes trouble for me. I didn't venture out while still together in the marriage but I lost interest in sex with my wife and she figured it out. Right now, I've been out of the house for 1 1/2 years, hardest time of my life. However, I have managed to stay friends with my wife, which is good for all. My kids are both in college so they're not around but my relationships with both are strong. I'm going to the father-daughter BBQ at my daughter's sorority this weekend. For some reason she thought I might not want to go and was thrilled that I RSVPed yes. Hang in there. Good luck.

    ---------- Post added 21st Apr 2015 at 05:18 AM ----------

    if you're lucky and can remain amicable; my wife and I worked with a mediator, we didn't have our own attorneys, and made a reasonable separation agreement with her, dividing the assets, etc. It was relatively cheap and since we were both civil, it wasn't a problem. I recommend it if possible.
     
  12. BeingEarnest

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    Welcome to EC,

    As I read your story, the thing I wonder is what will it be like for your wife, not only to hear the news that you are gay, but to know that you have been making plans, meeting with lawyers, without talking to her. The way you come out is as important as coming out. And it can be in a way that gives integrity to you both. I hear you struggling to assert your identity, to step out of the shame that has been put upon you. You did not make this weird world that tells us we should be something or someone you are not. You are taking a courageous step. Is the way you are preparing to share this news going to give you integrity? Does it leave an opening for your wife to respond with compassion, instead of forcing her into a defensive response.
    I wish you and your family well.
     
  13. headshaver

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    Hi BeingEarnest
    Thanks for your thoughts. You're correct- this does feel defensive like I'm planning to leave her hanging. The reason I am "planning" and getting information on lawyers, apartments, etc., is just that I am a planner - I never do anything without knowing the full impact of my decisions... you can't even imagine how I plan and research just to buy a TV for gosh sake. Anyway, I get your point - and I would never go to her and say hey, the attorney is gonna cost us X and my apartment is Y, etc. The other reason is just because I fear she will tell me to leave - and even though she can't kick me out of my house, she can, and most likely will, make the situation so miserable that I will want to move out quickly. I just know as caring as she is as a person, when she finds all this out she is going to go into killer mode and I just wanna have some type of plan in my head as to where I will go, etc. Hope that makes sense.
     
  14. headshaver

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    So I went on a walk tonight to clear my head a little. As I walked I had the conversation with my wife in my head. The one question I could not answer is helping her understand how I made love to her all these years but yet I'm telling her I'm gay? I don't know how I actually respond to that and make any logical sense of the fact that I made love to her because I was attracted to her but over the years I have grown to like the affection and sexual pleasure of being with a man. She isn't going to understand... she's a logical thinker - very black and white - this is very grey.
     
  15. bi2me

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    Sexuality can be fairly fluid. Are there no sex acts she once disdained but through your time together came to enjoy? I know it's different, but might help her understand.
     
  16. SWburbchgo

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    Headshaver - Thank you for your story as it parallels mine in several ways. I came out to my wife and had a plan in January. I think one of the many things that struck her was that I had months to plan an escape strategy and I gave her 15 minutes. My experience was like a nuclear explosion and in hindsight I should have handled it differently. But I doubt the outcome would have been different. A couple of suggestions - you have done your homework and you have it in your head. Keep it there and let it flow naturally as it needs to occur. No need to spill out a plan unless it is absolutely necessary. My other suggestion is to see if your employer has an employee assistance program as part of your HR benefits. If so, you may be able to speak to an attorney for a few sessions without it costing anything and they may be able to steer you to a different attorney who may have experience with LGBT/straight marriage issues.
    For me it has been 3 months and every day gets a little better and the anxiety and guilt seem to lessen and then flair up again. So all I can do it take it day by day. I wish you well and this group of men and women on her are a fantastic support network in addition to your friend that you have locally.
     
  17. headshaver

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    thank you very much SWburchgo. I agree - I've done my homework and it needs to stay in my head and I just need to let things flow out. What a great idea about employee assistance program at work - I totally forgot about that benefit. We do have that and in fact, we have legal assistance as well - hello?? Why didn't I think about that?
     
  18. headshaver

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    My problem is that I am concerned about wife's reaction to me being gay - but I also lied to her 6 years ago about an affair - an affair that I had with another married man who moved away. Also, me meeting up with other men while on the road traveling for business over the years... I think hearing that will mortify her and hearing that will take any love left in her heart away. I suppose that's part of coming clean - everything has to be discussed... Or - should I just leave it out the affair and hookups? So very complicated
     
  19. LateRobert

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    HI Mate

    We are all here for you. As much as you may want to come clean about everything, I think you may also need to consider how much information your wife is able to handle. You know her better than anyone else.

    Maybe it's best that you give her as much information that you think she is capable of dealing with at this time. If you really want to tell her everything, maybe you can share more at a time when you feel she is in a better position mentally to handle it.
     
  20. headshaver

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    I came really close to having the talk last night. Home alone, daughter at sports practice for 3 hours, was just about to start the conversation and ding dong, the doorbell rings and my wife has a friend from her charity organization at the front door unexpected. Saved by the bell? Nah - just delayed again.
    The most interesting conversation happened yesterday with a gay friend of mine. Background here - I have three gay guy friends - two who were married and came out and one that came about as about 3 years ago - never married. All are supportive of my situation and all are very honest about the reality I will face, how my family and friends will treat me and that I have to be prepared mentally for total rejection from all - worst case of course.
    One of my friends, out two years now after a long nasty marriage - were having a call yesterday. I expressed that I am very close - I can feel it and I am ready. He pushes back - as he has done for the last few weeks - telling me that I shouldn't do it - that I don't want to be part of the gay world, that I have everything I could want in life and that I need to really stop and think before I do something stupid. I don't understand - very strange how someone who has taken the step to move ahead with life can be so negative about coming out. Perhaps because he was busted - he was forced to come out. I know at the end of the day, I have to do what I need to do for me but it just confuses the hell out of me that someone who has been thru this is so negative about things. He tells me I will be ruined financially, I'll never be able to "downsize" from where the way I live today to an apartment of 700 sq feet, that I will be alone and that everyone my wife and I know will turn against me.. I suppose we are all unique in our situations so I need to listen, filter, and then move forward with what I have on my heart. My other two friends have been very honest with me, both telling me that they will help me - that I won't be alone. They have been honest with me and I am thankful for their wisdom and guidance but they have never been so against my situation. I don't really have a point here or a question - just needed to process this out load as I rub my head. Perhaps it's time to stop riding the fence and get on with it. Confused again.....